It’s a season of gratitude, and I am feelin’ the need. Being buried under a pile of stress (in the form of graduate school applications and a job hunt) has given me a crusty feeling of general irritation and impatience. I want to know what the future holds, already! I could wallow in these feelings, letting my heart rate stay elevated and my children cringing at my entrance to a room. I have been grumpy, to say the least. From experience, I know that gratitude is often the solvent that wears away even the toughest crusties of the soul. So I now turn to those people, experiences and circumstances that have ultimately lead to greater understanding, compassion and insight, or have just plain made me feel good.
To my husband: I am grateful for your patience. You calmly take the children by the hand and lead them away from me when you see that we all need some space. Your honesty and openness about your own fears and failings lends me more support that your achievements and success ever could. Your smile, sincere and sparking with light from beyond your eyes, lifts me up when I need it most. Many a man could learn from your example of husband- and fatherhood.
To my family: Without hesitation, you offer the roofs over your heads, the bread in your pantries and the encouragement of your hearts. Your love is a hammock on a lazy summer afternoon – I am embraced and supported.
To my children: You teach me to be a better human, whether or not I am willing to study the lessons. Thank you for every moment of your lives, shared or not. I glory in your becoming…you.
There are people I could name that deserve humanitarian awards for the friendship and support they offer. The list is long, and if I were to begin to write it, I would invariably miss obvious, extremely important people simply because my brain is fried. So if you’re reading this, just add yourself to the list, and give yourself some kind of treat on my behalf…a latte from Starbucks, a Hershey’s kiss, a self-hug, or and extra 30 minutes of glorious reading time. You deserve so much more. Even if we’ve never met, maybe you can relate to what I’m saying here; maybe you’ve felt that aching pull of fear in your gut, or have been the friend that soothed it with the balm of loving words. If so, you have my gratitude, because it means we’re compatriots in the common struggle of becoming more human, more refined, more Divine.
Finally, I am grateful to Life. I use the capital ‘L’ because I am learning something about that Force that fires us, inspires us, and guides us from within. Life is teaching me about forgiveness, and about a Love that holds the planets in their place, keeps the cells inside my bones inside my skin surrounded by the air…a Love the permeate us all. Life is teaching me to stop and notice that behind the crusties of the stress, and the tightness of the chest, and the choking of the sobs, beneath the aching in the throat and clenching in the belly, there is a quiet flow of peace. It may take chisels of gratitude to break through. It could take shovel loads of service to others to dig down to it. It might take singing with my children and dancing with my man, maybe even running through the grass with bare feet. But what I am most grateful for is the lesson that I have the power to get there, and for the pure lightness of being when I arrive.